The label Salafee-Jihaadee has been used to categorize Islamic groups that espouse violence against the West and Muslim regimes. The typology of Salafee-Jihaadee is met with vehement disapproval and criticism from adherents to Salafism. For this reason, the portrayal of Salafees as violent extremists requires scrutiny.
This study aims to make a unique contribution to knowledge of Salafism by surveying an extensive literature review, supplemented by interviews of known Salafee clerics based upon the premise that Salafism is an antidote to Islamic extremism rather than a cause of violent jihaad and terror.
In chapter one Salafism is defined and its key features as a movement are characterized and evaluated. Chapter two analyzes Salafees’ view and role in denouncing violence and extremism. Chapter three introduces alternative assessments of Salafism as a movement and evaluates the arguments put forth by its critics. Chapter four investigates Salafist perceptions of pluralism particularly in Western non-Muslim societies. Chapter five details the role of Salafees and their counter arguments to extremism. The final chapter details the conclusions of the research, which indicate that Salafism is not a precursor to violence, but rather the efforts of Salafee scholars offer effective counter-narratives to the jihaadee-takfeeree paradigm.
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